Several years ago, Cape Town began a journey to become a responsible tourism destination. In an understanding that responsible tourism would be government-led and private sector-driven, the City set about creating the right environment for responsible tourism.
The City took the first steps taken by including responsible tourism in its Tourism Development Framework, creating the Responsible Tourism Policy and Action Plan, identifying the Cape Town’s responsible tourism priorities and together with Cape Town’s major tourism partners, decided on a direction for responsible tourism in Cape Town.
Despite the gains, there’s still a lot of work to be done before we can truly say that tourism Cape Town is responsible and that we are doing are all to help visitors enjoy our destination as responsible travellers. The timing and the conditions are right for all tourism product owners in destination Cape Town to begin adopting responsible tourism practices to make a difference to Cape Town’s future.
It is important to remember that responsible tourism benefits not only for destination Cape Town, but tourism businesses themselves. To help tourism businesses in their own responsible tourism journey, the City has published the Responsible Tourism in Cape Town: How-to Guide, guidelines for implementing responsible practices in the tourism industry.
This how-to guide has been designed to be easy to read and user-friendly. It includes many practical tips on how businesses can implement responsible tourism at an operational level, as well as additional helpful resources. It focuses on local issues and solutions and gives examples of good practices already in use among Cape Town’s tourism businesses. Tourism businesses benefit from promoting their responsible tourism successes, so the how-to guide covers how responsible tourism should be marketed in addition to how it can be implemented.
The guide has also been designed to be practical for all sectors of the tourism industry including accommodation, tour operators, activities and attractions among others. By using the how-to guide, tourism businesses will learn how to:
- save money by reducing operating costs;
- increase their attractiveness to customers;
- reduce their overall environmental impacts;
- improve business relationships; and
- monitor, assess, and demonstrate progress.
These are appealing-enough benefits for individual tourism businesses, and each effort made also contributes to destination Cape Town’s responsible tourism journey.